Two moms seek to shop more consciously on the internet with a simple tool
Can you click your way to more conscious shopping?
Two moms, Cara Oppenheimer and Cary Fortin, created Great deal, an online marketplace for conscious shopping that boasts over 19 million products from 183,000 small businesses. But it’s not your next Amazon. Instead, goodbuy is a Chrome browser extension and is on a mission to make shopping “enjoyable” by making it easier to make conscious shopping online for consumers looking to buy their values and supporting small businesses, which can be hard to find in the chaos of the internet. .
After downloading the browser extension with Chrome, users can create a profile where they choose from a long list of options: AAPI-owned, Made in USA, Black-owned, Certified Ethical, Free cruelty-free, family-owned, Indigenous-owned, Latina /o/x-owned, LGBTQIA+-owned, local, disabled owner(s), sustainable, vegan, veteran-owned, and women-owned. Now, when they shop on the internet, they’ll see results that match those selections.
Cara and Cary break down the finer details of goodbuy and how they hope this simple tool could create an impact for thousands of small businesses.
How will you manage the ongoing greenwashing? For example, what are the parameters of “sustainable” and “vegan”?
This is a great question and one we took to heart from the moment we started building our verified database. In order to avoid greenwashing and to ensure that we provide consumers with products that we can trust matches their values, we rely on well-respected third-party certifications for those values. So, for example, for a store to appear as “vegan” in our database, the whole store (not just a product line) would have to be Certified Vegan Where Vegan approved by PETA. Similarly, for a business to be classified as sustainable, it should be certified by a reputable and respected sustainability organization, such as 1% for the Planet, Certified carbon neutralWhere Rainforest Alliance Certified among several others.
How do you make money as a platform?
It was extremely important to us to create a mutually beneficial business, where brand profits were tied to small business profits on our platform. As such, we make money through affiliate commissions, but unlike traditional affiliates, we don’t charge setup or monthly fees. In short: we don’t make money from our brands until our brands make money from us.
How did you finance this adventure?
We’re backed by venture capital, which has allowed us to focus so deeply on user experience – to ensure we’re constantly iterating and gathering feedback. It was also extremely important for us to show our children and our community that women, and mothers in particular, are this bright, underrepresented and overlooked part of our society. Women only received 2% of venture capital funding in 2021, and all-female founding teams receive even less. But as the pandemic has shown, women are the backbone of our society and deserve visibility and funding. Ok, out of our forum now 🙂
Does it work on sites like Amazon?
Yes. When someone downloads the browser extension, our shopping tool will pop up offering small business alternatives on hundreds of sites. This includes the mega the mega-retailers (those with the well-known billionaires) as well as many fast fashion stores, big box beauty products and large home stores. The benefit for consumers is twofold. The first obvious benefit is that they can choose to support stores that align with their values – local stores, family-run stores, black-owned stores, stores with American-made products. The second truly amazing benefit is discovering truly amazing, beautiful, interesting, and unique products that are different from what everyone else has. It’s a way for consumers to explore their own aesthetic while ensuring that their coffee table, their sneakers, their lipstick, their beard oil, their kid’s lunch box are theirs, not the same as everyone already has Target.
How would you like to refine this as you grow it? Gaps you would like to fill?
We are excited to continue to deliver better and more personalized search results to our users. The more individuals interact with our tool, telling us what they like and dislike, the more intelligently we can serve them what they want. Initially, we were concerned that we would not have enough products to offer consumers. Now, with over 19 million products in our database, we are clear that our greatest advantage is to offer a curated selection of products – the same as what users are looking for and the unique, funky and cool alternatives of little brands that they’ve never heard of before.
We also recognize that MANY of the stores in our database are doing amazing things at the product level and even at the store level just haven’t had the bandwidth or the money to apply for third party certifications which are really more for medium to large businesses. It’s a process that we hope to democratize and make more small business friendly in the not-too-distant future.